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Copyright board funds row heads to court

The decision by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) to revoke licenses of three royalty collecting societies has been revoked by the High court.

This past week, KECOBO it had revoked the licenses of the Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK), and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) for three months.

With the revocation, the three collective management organizations (CMOs) were banned from collecting and distributing royalties on behalf of the Kenyan artistes registered with them.

Arriving at the decision, KECOBO accused the three CMOs of distributing lesser amounts of royalties where only Ksh41 million was collectively disbursed to artists instead of Ksh79 million out of the Ksh114 million that was collected for the period ended July 2021.

KECOBO further accused KAMP, PRISK, and MCSK of distributing 35.9 percent of the money instead of the 70 percent as required by law.

With their licenses revoked, the three CMOs rushed to the High Court and managed to obtain a stay order issued on Monday pending the hearing of the case.

“Pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s cross-petition herein interim conservatory orders do issue staying and/or suspending the implementation of the petitioner’s decision of revoking KAMP-PRISK-MCSK licenses contained in the letter dated 23rd August 2021 and public notice dated 24th August 2021.” Justice Weldon Korir ordered.

With the stay order, the three CMOs have stated that they will continue executing their mandate as provided under the Copyright Act 2001.

“In light of this, users of copyrightable works are reminded to comply with Copyright Act 2001 Laws of Kenya by paying for the copyright and related rights licenses before or prior to using or exploiting any of these rights administered by the duly assigned collective management organizations.”